CfP: Literature Data and Digital Literature. An international summer school

Alexa Hennemann, DLA Marbach Announcement
Subject Fields
Digital Humanities, Literature

An international summer school of the Marbach Weimar Wolfenbüttel Research

Association in partnership with the project textklang (University of Stuttgart)

Digital Literature and Literature Data

As early as the middle of the 20th century it was Roberto Busa’s intention in the Index Thomisticus project to work with large digital (literary) corpora using scientific methods. Building on the foundation provided by, for example, Project Gutenberg, this has now been possible on a much larger scale for over 50 years – and since the 1990s this has been complemented by ProjektGutenbergDE in Germany. In the last 20 years, there has also been enormous progress in digitization. Thanks to large-scale enterprises such as the commercial Google Books project, numerous texts (primarily old prints) are now available to literary research in digital form – in open access projects such as Textgrid or the Deutschen Textarchiv (German Text Archive) as machinereadable digital copies. At the same time, digital editions are now increasingly striving to meet scholarly demands as well, as in the Edview project of the DLA Marbach. Furthermore, as a result of major international digitization initiatives, an increasing number of locally preserved manuscripts are not only becoming globally accessible, but they can also be digitally networked. In addition to the digital full texts, the activities of numerous GLAM institutions are increasing the significance of metadata and the ways in which they are networked. Anyone interested in Stefan Zweig’s (DLA et al), Else Lasker-Schüler’s (DLA/NLI), or Heinrich Mann’s (AdK) scattered archives, for example, can study them in better context now that they have been consolidated in virtual form. In Goethe Digital, an author’s private library can be explored virtually and in its entirety, and in Arthur Schnitzler Briefe (Arthur Schnitzler’s Letters), entire correspondences can be studied digitally. In projects such as the Getty Provenance Index, numerous provenance data for visual arts are recorded digitally. At the same time, the amount of data on borndigitals, i.e. genuinely digital holdings such as hard disks, computer games, or net literature, is growing rapidly in the archives (see, for example, the DLA’s Netzliteratur project). Dealing with such material poses new challenges for institutions, which is one of the reasons why research is being conducted into how artificial intelligence can support the work of archives, for example. 2 This data universe is supplemented by the many digital catalogues, most of which still refer to analogue collections, but whose metadata (increasingly in Linked Open Data projects, such as the DLA’s catalogue) in turn make research data available that, when interlinked with digital approaches, open up entirely new research perspectives. Particularly relevant are thus topics such as: Data provenance, metadata, data quality, data curation, data analytics, user-driven approaches, development of digital catalogues, interweaving of catalogues with digital approaches, and thus overall the further development of the concept of literature. Provenance research in literary studies in particular has shown in recent years that data issues cannot be dealt with in isolation, but must be considered in a highly research-led way. The question of generating, storing, curating, and networking data is closely linked to the question of the object and interest of research in literature studies. The summer school offers a framework for exploring the potential of digital approaches for one’s own research questions and discussing them with experts. In the summer school seminars, for example, metadata collections will be examined and interrogated for their research potential. For future (digital) provenance research in particular, the focus will be on how metadata are selected and generated. What knowledge is considered relevant in this context and what is not? Following on from this, the technical questions of long-term archiving will be addressed (see, for example, the SDC4Lit project). What can/should be archived? How do digital catalogues work with regard to such questions? What do data life cycles look like? How is the processing of data documented? The area of data curation in particular is increasingly elementary for philology as well. What does data provenance for genuinely digital literature, known as born-digital literature, look like?

Cooperation with the textklang research project

Through the research project textklang, conducted in cooperation with the University of Stuttgart (Institute for Machine Language Processing, Institute for Literature Studies/Digital Humanities) and DLA Marbach, a current interdisciplinary, theoretically grounded and hypothesis-guided research area will be integrated into the summer school, which deals with concrete questions of digitization, metadata acquisition, machine readability, digital speech and sound analysis, and the provision or networking of research data in the course of systematic research into the sonority of literary texts (Romantic poetry). Specifically, a multimodal corpus of texts, sound recordings (recitations and settings) and digitized printed music, which is fed from the DLA’s holdings, is being examined for interrelationships between text (interpretations) and prosodic language features with the help of a specially developed DH mixed-methods workflow. The summer school is taking place within the framework of the Marbach Weimar Wolfenbüttel Research Association, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and in cooperation with textklang, a joint project of DLA Marbach and the University of Stuttgart.

Among the confirmed speakers are: Tobias Blanke, Katherine Bode, Lukas Diestel, Frank Fischer, Matthew Handelman, Jan Hess, Lise Jaillant, Roland Kamzelak, Ines Kolbe, John Mark Ockerbloom, Allison Parrish, Andrea Rapp, Annika Rockenberger, Karin Schmidgall, and Melanie Wald-Fuhrmann.


Over the course of the two-week summer school, 20 doctoral candidates will have the opportunity to work with academics from around the world on digital literature and literature data, using the collections of the DLA’s archive, library, and museums as a foundation for their work. The interdisciplinary and international summer school is aimed at doctoral candidates in relevant research fields, especially literature studies, music studies, sound studies, library studies and information science, digital humanities and computer sciences. Dissertation topics may fall within the scope of the themes of the summer school; however, those who do not will also be considered. Applicants must clearly demonstrate how participation in the summer school and the accompanying archive stay makes a significant contribution to their dissertation project. Graduate students from emerging countries are strongly encouraged to apply. International participants who travel significant distances (transcontinental) and who wish to pursue specific research interests in the archival holdings, may make an informal request to extend their stay for an extra week to work in the archive in the cover letter accompanying the application. The cost of accommodation for the week-long extension will be covered. The application should include: 1. Application form 2. Cover letter of no more than two pages detailing reasons for the application (interest in summer school topic and relevant archival holdings; if applicable: proposal for one-week archive stay following the summer school/application for an exemption from the registration fee) 3. CV 4. Copies of certificates and transcripts 5. Outline of the dissertation project (max. 5 pages) 6. Letter of recommendation from the applicant’s home university.

Application deadline

Applications must be submitted via the online application portal by 28 February 2023. Applications sent by post or via email will not be considered. Applicants will be informed about the outcome of their application in March 2023. International participants will receive an invitation to apply for visas required for them to participate in the summer school. Participation in the summer school does not constitute any legal entitlement to an extended stay in Germany. There is no legal entitlement to participation.

Accommodation and Travel

Costs Participants will be offered free accommodation at the Collegienhaus of the German Literature Archive. Travel costs will be reimbursed to the value of the allowances set by the DAAD.

Summer School Fee

The participation fee is 150 Euros. Participants may be eligible for a fee waiver, subject to inclusion of any relevant financial circumstances in the cover letter.


The summer school will take place in compliance with the COVID-19 pandemic measures in force at the time.

Contact Information

Birgit Wollgarten

Research Secretariat 

German Literature Archive Marbach –

Tel.: +49 (0)7144 - 848 - 175

Fax: +49 (0)7144 – 848 - 179

Contact Email